Salisbury named UK's ‘best place to live’ year on from novichok poisoning

Wiltshire city praised for its ‘resurgent community spirit’ following assassination attempt on Russian spy

Olivia Petter
Sunday 14 April 2019 11:43 BST

Salisbury has been named the UK’s “best place to live” just one year after becoming globally infamous as the scene of a deadly nerve agent attack.

The cathedral city topped the annual list compiled by The Sunday Times, which praised its “resurgent community spirit” following the novichok poisonings, which made headlines around the world.

Former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia both survived an assassination attempt blamed on Russian intelligence agency GRU.

But the poisoning later claimed the life of local Dawn Sturgess, 44, who died died after coming into contact with a perfume bottle that was thought to have been used in the attack.

Commenting on the decision to choose Salisbury as the best place to live in the UK, Helen Davies, The Sunday Times home editor said it had "shown real collective spirit in dealing with a chemical attack that saw the cathedral city become the centre of world headlines for all the wrong reasons”.

Ms Davies added: “There are still parts of the city where the clean-up continues, but to bounce back and be even stronger is a sure sign of a very special community, which is one of the reasons we have chosen Salisbury as the best place to live in Britain in 2019.

“It remains a divinely attractive and welcoming place. It’s handy for coast, countryside and London, has some of the best schools in the south-west, a great market and it’s very strong culturally, too.”

The publication praised Salisbury for its thriving volunteering sector, sustainable fashion shops and fledgling arts scene. It houses one of southern England’s leading theatres, The Playhouse, and its Arts Centre hosts regular comedy nights, concerts and film screenings.

Direct trains from Salisbury to London take roughly 90 minutes and the average house price is £393,230.

For the last seven years, The Sunday Times has selected the best places to live in every region in the UK and chosen one overall winner.

Its regional winners for 2019 were:

  • Petworth, West Sussex
  • Topsham, Devon
  • Isle of Dogs, London
  • Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk
  • Edale, Derbyshire
  • York, North Yorkshire
  • Kirkby Lonsdale, Cumbria
  • Dundee, Dundee
  • Crickhowell, Powys
  • Holywood, Co Down

The newspaper takes into account a number of factors when compiling its list, including air quality, transport links, property prices, internet speeds and schooling, in addition to cultural and social offerings.

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